Supplies Needed to Create your Infusion and Salve:
- Glass jar (like a clean mason jar)
- Strainer or Cheesecloth
- Glass or non-metal pot (spout helpful)
- Measuring spoons and cup
- Clean container for salve
Oils for Infusions and Salves:
Olive oil works very well for herbal infusions and body ointments. It is a good nourishing oil and generally there are no allergies to it. It also has a long shelf life so the life of your infusion or balm will be longer. You can experiment with other oils if you would like, but be careful with nut oils as some people have allergies to them. It is very important to use the most unrefined oil you can when making an infusion. The more an oil is refined, the more beneficial properties it looses. When using olive oil you will look for “Extra Virgin” or “1st Cold Pressed” olive oil.
Herbs for Making the Infusion:
You can use either dried or fresh herbs to make your infusion. I believe wildcrafting is the best way to gather herbs for your infusion, but any herbs will do. Please consider the benefits of using organic. You can use a single herb or a combination of herbs to prepare your infusion.
Preparing an Oil Infusion:
- Fill a clean, dry, glass jar about 1/3 full of dried or fresh herb(s).
- Fill jar the rest of the way –almost full- of oil(s).
- Set jar in dark dry space for 3-6 weeks.
Some people believe energy from the sun can be helpful to the preparation. Too much sun and heat over time can break down the properties of the oil and herb, so you will want to avoid the light for the majority of time your infusion sets.
- Shake your infusion every other day or so.
- Strain oil into a clean bowl or jar using a screen or cheesecloth. Be sure to clean your hands before this step because you want to keep your oil clean.
- Your infusion is ready to bottle and use how you wish!
Making a Salve:
I use the proportion of ½ cup oil (your herb infused oil will do very well here) to 2Tbs. beeswax. This can be altered to fit the needs of your salve and also the time of year you are making and using the salve. More beeswax will make a thicker salve; less beeswax will make a looser salve. I also find a looser slave can be beneficial to sensitive skin.
- Measure and pour oil into non-metal pot.
- Heat on low and add your beeswax.
- Stir constantly until wax is melted.
- At this time you may add vitamin E or essential oils.
If you would like to test the consistency, stick a chilled spoon into the hot salve and let set a minute. This will give you an idea of how thick your preparation is.
- Pour into containers and let cool before capping.
Healing Herbs Commonly Found in Your Yard
- St. John’s Wart
- Chickweed (anti-inflamatory)
- Mullein (anti-inflamatory)
Oils (these oils can all be found in your health food store)
- Research your carrier oil, make sure it will be safe and beneficial. Also, oils carry different properties, use the one that will fit your specific need.
The use of essential oils can add beneficial properties to your salves. Since most essential oils have anti-bacterial properties, this would be the biggest reason you would add them to a salve. I encourage you to research your favorite essential oils to see if they would make a good fit in your salve.
- Do not use synthetic fragrance oils in your salves. This could cause skin irritation. Research essential oils, some oils, like the citrus family, may cause photosensitivity and skin irritations.
- Add oils at the end of your process as the heat evaporates some of the oil.